Monday, December 21, 2009

Social media: When overwhelmed bloggers decide to pull the plug.

Before there weren't many blogs. Then everyone was a blogger. Somehow, somewhere, overnight and over time, they garnered hundreds and thousands and sometimes even millions of eyeballs. They have fans and followers who 'bought' into their blog. And suddenly, these bloggers are launched into celebhood. They get invited to speak and share in mainstream social media sites - their success, failure, visions, dreams, ideals and fear. Then suddenly it bombed.

Suddenly, your favourite blogger is calling it quits. Whether in the form of a sabbatical or just needing to 'unplug' for a week or two to 'think about things'. To sort out their life, to figure what they really want from this and where they are heading to next. Suddenly, all this fame got a little too heady and became overly overwhelming. Because we forget. These bloggers are flesh and blood like us. They are NOT your A-star celebrities who trot red carpets and have a personal life guru to coach them on managing celebrity stress. They have day jobs, they have passion, they have problems, they have relationships and they have repercussions when fame and glory finally catch up with them. And they feel exposed, naked, unsure of whether they have asked for all these 'coverage' because what started out to be a passion and exposure of their inner thoughts that gave them 15 minutes glory is becoming a nightmare of public scrutiny.

So what happens next? How would or should they deal with this mental stress? Any anonymous group? (Is there anonymity anyway?) But what about the fans? That their celebrity blogger has decided to pull the plug, get away from them because it's just getting too much? How is society affected? What does this teach us? What kind of pressure is building up in this web 2.0 frenzy that's causing stress 2.0? And most important of all, what is the repercussion to our real life?

I believe there will be a second burst. This time, the bubble ain't 'economics'. This time it will be a social explosion. I don't know when, and I don't know how. But the pressure cooker is on. Someone gather the psychiatrists and sociologists and doctors and legislators and researchers. Let's be ready for it.

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